THE Delft Big Band has been making sound waves across the globe. Now they’re going to blow away audiences in Burgundy, France.
The 20-piece band was invited to take part in the South African Autumn in Burgundy season of concerts, which will last until November.
Their performances form part of a reciprocal season held in the Western Cape last year when a French season of cultural activities was hosted here.
Speaking from Cape Town International Airport on Tuesday, musical director Ian Smith said the most exciting part of the band’s journey was that they had been invited to play at prestige venues, generally reserved for top musicians.
“The main aim was to make good music and to get these kids off the streets. But I think we have come a lot further than anyone expected,” says Smith.
He launched the band in 2008 with the aim of exposing Delft’s youth to a structured music programme, teaching them to play musical instruments and perform.
It also served as a springboard for youth to find employment and further their studies.
Smith says several band members have been poached by the professional music circuit and have found permanent employment. Others have been awarded scholarships at top institutions.
Several band members can now also count themselves among the well travelled.
Adelia Bouw, 20, is the lead vocalist. She has been to Sweden twice, and has travelled to the US. This will be her first performance in France. She could barely contain her excitement before boarding the plane yesterday.
“Since the day I joined the band in August 2009, my life has changed. I’m living my dream, and have achieved my goals.”
She said the band had presented her with many opportunities, including travel, but most importantly, self-discovery and a sense of confidence. Last year she was selected to perform for Queen Silvia of Sweden and other members of her royal family for the second consecutive year. She also attended a five-week course at one of the world’s top music schools, Berklee College of Music in Boston.
This visit to France will be fellow vocalist David October’s first overseas trip.
“The joy for me is when it all comes together during a performance. You’re singing, the band is blasting behind you and you look out into the audience to see the faces of people who are enjoying every minute of it.”
October urged Capetonians to support the band because members were positive role models for their peers: “Even our families have changed through us as we started to enjoy the music.”
As for the trip, October believes this trip is the start of the band “going international”.